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stretching across 80% of the country. today, we learned that here in new york city, more than 500 people are heading into emergency rooms with the flu every day. nearly 4,000 people every week. and doctors tell us one good measure of how the flu is spreading across the country is the trend search on google. so, look at this. these are the searches for flu symptoms in the past two years. but look at this. the huge spike in searches already this year and it's still rising. abc's chief medical editor dr. richard besser, an expert on tracking viruses, shows us how to navigate through the outbreak all around us. >> reporter: the earliest flu season in a decade. with 80% of the country reporting severe flu -- >> we are seeing that early uptick. >> reporter: we're hunting down the flu virus. the cdc told me that in high flu states, 70% to 80% of the coughs around you right now are from the flu.
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each cough, sneeze or conversation puts flu into the air and into your lungs. it lands on railings, in the diner. everyone touches the salt and pepper shakers. on the atm and on every door you touch. flu virus can survive two to eight hours on plastic or metal. parking meter. how many people have touched this one? like on the bus. if someone was flu touched this three hours ago, i could pick it up on my hand. hands take it to straight to the nose and mouth. watch this. we recorded a meeting and counted how many times people unconsciously touched their face. over 25 minutes, the highest number? 44. and there are new tools to track flu. social media, like that google flu tracker. a facebook app that tries to find which friend gave you the flu. and flu near you, which has 20,000 volunteers who are tracking their symptoms. down to their zip codes. >> you see influenza move from the south and california, but in
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fact, there really is nowhere to hide. >> reporter: office hotspot? the elevator. one sneeze can spray flu in droplets up to 20 feet into your lungs, coating the doors and buttons. a simple thing you can do, instead of pushing the button with your finger, just use a knuckle. advice from the cdc? there's still time to get the flu shot and wash your hands. a lot. >> so, it is not too late to get the flu shot? >> reporter: that's right. i mean, while we're seeing a lot of flu around the country, this could still go on for a couple more months and you can get that protection. >> even if you don't know how effective it is yet, it is effective in some measure. >> reporter: that's right. >> and if you get the flu, what's the first thing you do? >> reporter: well, you know, you have to think about an anti-viral. especially if you are elderly, a young child, a pregnant woman. they are the people who are going to die from this. tens of thousands of people die in a bad flu season. and we're not taking it serious enough. >> so, go and check out things like tamiflu. >> reporter: exactly. tamiflu and relenza. >> all right, dr. richard
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besser. thanks so much, rich. and now, we go to washington, where the president today announced his new team for a new term. today, it was national security. he nominated former senator chuck hagel for secretary of defense. hagel, a man who volunteered for vietnam, who was awarded two purple hearts for his courage. but tonight, he is already facing political fire. why? abc's chief global affairs correspondent martha raddatz tells us. >> reporter: president obama made clear today just how important this nomination is for the country. >> my most solemn obligation is the security of the american people. >> reporter: through decades of war and peace, the job of defense secretary has had profound implications. >> if forces to be used, saddam hussein would be removed from power. >> reporter: chuck hagel knows the horrors of war first hand. at 21, a poor kid from nebraska, he volunteered to go to vietnam, fighting side-by-side with his 19-year-old brother, tom. he got two purple hearts. one, when shrapnel ripped open his chest and his brother
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dragged him to safety. another, a month later, when hagel, himself on fire from a land mine, rescued his brother. >> i was on the left side, where the major blast came up, and i was burned all up and down the left side of my body. so, i grabbed tom first, he was out and he had blood coming out of his ears and nose. and you don't have time to think about, is he dead or alive? >> reporter: but critics are not focusing on hagel's military service. while serving as a republican senator, he angered some in his own party for not backing the troop surge in iraq. not supporting unilateral sanctions against iran. and what some on the hill perceive as a lack of support for israel. >> hagel's record is very, very troubling on the nation of israel. he has not been a friend to israel. >> reporter: hagel and the white house say these are misperceptions. with hagel telling his hometown paper today, he has unequivocal, total support for israel. but he still has a lot of convincing to do on capitol hill.
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his confirmation is far from guaranteed and the chorus against his nomination seems to be getting louder, despite the best efforts of the white house. diane? >> all right, thank you so much, martha. and as you know, the president's other big pick today was for the man he wants to lead the cia. his white house terrorism adviser, john brennan, whose work ethic is legend. in fact, the president hailed him for standing watch over the nation and teased him about it. >> it was in the summer, august, he's in full suit and tie. and one of the reporters asked him, "don't you ever get any down time?" and john said, "i don't do down time." he's not even smiling now. >> and there's one more note from washington. secretary of state hillary clinton returned to work today, after her hospitalization for a blood clot near her brain. and before that, of course, for falling and suffering a concussion.
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well, today, her staff greeted her with a standing ovation and a funny gift. look. a football helmet with the state department seal. and a jersey with the number 112, that's how many countries she has visited. the most traveled secretary of state in history. and a big settlement was reached today that could pay out lots of money to millions of americans. ten major banks agreed to pay billions of dollars to end the government review of their foreclosure abuses. specifically, $3.3 billion for their 4 million customers whose homes hit foreclosure in 2009 and 2010. those people could get anywhere from hundreds of dollars to $125,000 each. and in colorado today, a search for answers. how many people knew that james holmes was spiraling toward violence? accused of opening fire in a movie theater in aurora, colorado. you'll remember this image.
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the shock of orange hair, the dazed eyes. but this is how he looked today in the courtroom on the stand, where police gave the first clues to his mental health and what they saw. abc's clayton sandell was there. >> reporter: veteran aurora cops broke down in tears on the stand today recalling unimaginable horror. >> i got people running out of the theater that are shot. >> reporter: officer justin grizzle found motionless bodies everywhere in the theater. he drove six victims to the hospital in his patrol car. "i knew i needed to get them to the hospital now," he said through tears. "i didn't want anyone else to die." office jason oviatt found holmes at the theater's back exit, dressed in body armor but unusually calm. "he was very, very relaxed," oviatt said. "he seemed very detached from it all." today, holmes again showed little emotion even as victims' relatives looked on. >> he looked like an ordinary human being. he really did. and that was what's so hard to take.
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>> reporter: the hearing is a first clear glimpse of the prosecution's case. an opportunity to answer lingering questions about holmes' possible motive and state of mind and how many people around him saw warning signs. holmes' attorney suggested he is mentally ill and may have tried calling his psychiatrist lynne fenton nine minutes before the shooting started. earlier, the once promising neuroscience student reportedly told his psychiatrist he had fantasies about killing a lot of people and mailed her a notebook that may contain details about the attack. holmes has not yet entered a plea and it's not clear if he'll mount an insanity defense. this hearing will last about a week and a judge will decide if there's enough evidence for holmes to stand trial. something legal experts say should be easy for the prosecution. diane? >> clayton sandell reporting in from colorado. and tomorrow marks the anniversary of another terrible mass shooting. two years ago, congresswoman gabby giffords was meeting with constituents in tucson, arizona, when a young man opened fire. i sat down with giffords and her husband, astronaut mark kelly,
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and tomorrow, you'll hear about how she's doing now and also a big announcement they're making in the wake of the shooting in newtown, connecticut. they just traveled there and met with the family of a child who was lost. >> first couple that we spoke to, dad took out his cell phone and showed us a picture of his daughter and i just about lost it. >> when it can happen to children in a classroom, it's time to say -- >> enough. >> and again, tomorrow night, you will hear what they are planning to do now. and what she says is the happiest and the hardest part of her life today. and we have a video to show you now. a strange sight in the hidden communist world of north korea. everyone wondering, why did former governor bill richardson and google chairman eric schmidt travel into the country? is the 20-something-year-old
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dictator just curious about google and social media? we remember traveling there in 2006 and i asked a 20-year-old university student if she uses google. >> excuse me, i don't know about it. >> you don't know about google? >> i will study about it. >> the government blocked all of google and everyone is now wondering if that's about to change. still ahead on "world news," the secret place where billions of dollars of unwanted christmas gifts end up. and how you can turn your unwanted gifts into real money for you and your family. [ male announcer ] this is the age of knowing what you're made of.
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this is the age of taking action. we replaced people with a machine.r, what? customers didn't like it. so why do banks do it? hello? hello?! if your bank doesn't let you talk to a real person 24/7, you need an ally. hello? ally bank. your money needs an ally. tyou wouldn't want your adoctor doing your job, hello.... so why are you doing hers? only your doctor can determine if your persistent heartburn is actually something more serious, like acid reflux disease. over time, stomach acid can damage the lining of your esophagus. for many, prescription nexium not only provides 24-hour heartburn relief, but can also help heal acid-related erosions in the lining of your esophagus. there is risk of bone fracture and low magnesium levels. side effects may include headache, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
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call your doctor right away if you have persistent diarrhea. other serious stomach conditions may exist. don't take nexium if you take clopidogrel. let your doctor do her job. and you do yours. ask if nexium is right for you. if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help. tonight, "world news" is back on the trail of finding you ingenious ways to put real money in your wallet. it turns out after the family dinner and the eggnog, 20% of us return at least one christmas gift. that's more than $62 billion in unwanted presents. abc's paula faris has found a way you can use that to your advantage, and it is real money. >> my daughter got this. >> reporter: if you're one of the millions that returned a gift this holiday season, it most likely ends up here. scooters, slides, ceiling fans and games. vacuum cleaner. refrigerator. legos. really good stuff. the real island of misfit toys.
5:44 pm, letting us into their warehouse. we found out that once an electronic item has been opened, the big retailer can't put it back on the shelf. so, they sell here. for those of us that didn't like the gifts that santa got us for the holidays, are they going to end up here? >> yes. if it's out of the box, we inspect it, we test it, we grade it. >> reporter: and because they're a clearinghouse, they can sell at discounts up to 80%. san that may want to shop here next year. jamie and jordan are looking for a bargain. hi, i'm paula. they are parents to madeleine, jack, caleb and sweet little hattie. you spent all the money on the kids, and now you need some money to buy something for yourselves, right? >> absolutely. >> reporter: money that will help them buy this new camera that's as fast as their family. but we need to find them real money first. >> this is where i come in. >> reporter: joanna stern, our av i have saver, tells us where to start. tip number one. did you know you could get cash for old kids clothes without ever leaving your home?
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thred-up will give you dough for gently used duds. they send you the bag. all you have to do is load it up. >> $6.95. >> woo-hoo. we're getting full. >> reporter: over $40 right now. and look. two bags. and an empty basket. all that's left to do is drop it by the door. santa may have gotten the kids new clothes, but mom and dad got $80 for their old ones. tip number two. go drawer digging for hidden treasure. >> we have a blackberry. we don't need this. >> reporter: we can trade them in on amazon and >> $30, $30, that's $60 back. >> $60 just laying in a drawer. >> reporter: two rooms down, $218 and we keep digging. tip three. there's even more bang for the buck in unwanted gift cards. >> we have barnes & noble gift cards. >> reporter: at, they will give you $46 for this $50 amazon gift card. and at gift card rescue, another $46 for $50 worth of barnes & noble cards. is uncle ryan going to be
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upset that we're selling his gift card? >> he might be. poor uncle ryan. >> reporter: what about getting what you really wanted all along? tip number four, shop wholesalers, like second dip tip's warehouse. that's where we found the cone's camera for a fraction of the retail price. we got enough money to get your new camera, your sony cybershot >> yay! >> reporter: all in all, the family wracked up $375 and a family album full of memories. >> that's real money! >> reporter: and as for those gift cards, roughly $6 billion worth go unused annually. according to the research firm tower group. and the majority of the time, that money is funneled back directly to the retailer. diane? >> and the names of all those websites will be online if you want to check it out. >> reporter: they will. >> and you said they had money leftover? >> reporter: yes, the money we saved them, through this series, we saved them $375. they bought the camera and had $225 to spare. date night for mom and dad. >> very nice. they earned it. thank you, paula. and you can see more of paula's report tonight on "nightline." and by the way, starting tomorrow night, "nightline" will begin at a new time, 12:35 a.m.
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eastern time. and coming up next here, what would you do if you were riding an escalator and suddenly it reversed direction? a scare in new jersey today. see how the passengers scramble. see how the passengers scramble. [ male announcer ] this is sheldon, whose long dy setting up the news starts with arthritis pain and a choice. take tylenol or take aleve, the #1 recommended pain reliever by orthopedic doctors. just two aleve can keep pain away all day.
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a stampede of dolphins, 1,000 or more. synchronized water ballet dazzling tourists on a whale-watching boat in southern california. the dolphins are famously social animals. no word on whether they just came out for the dance or were just having some fun. and a kind of musical time capsule tonight. do you recognize the voice? ♪ well i see things >> that is the legendary jimi hendrix. the song is called "somewhere" and has never been heard until today. it was remixed by one of his loyal sound engineers who cobbled it together from tracks hendrix had been working on at the time of his death. it will be released as part of a new hendrix album in march. and talk about a wakeup jolt in the morning. this was the scene during rush hour in new jersey. commuters got a shock in jersey city when their escalator
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suddenly started going in reverse. you can see the quick thinking workers sought shelter on the divider. several people were taken to local hospitals. no one seriously injured. but what a way to start your week. and if you see something for our "instant index," be sure to tweet it to me, @dianesawyer. i'll be there. and coming up here, the football showdown. josh elliott takes you on the wild ride onight. tonight. ringing ] [ female announcer ] if you have rheumatoid arthritis, can you start the day the way you want? can orencia help? [ woman ] i wanted to get up when i was ready, not my joints. [ female announcer ] could your "i want" become "i can"? talk to your doctor. orencia reduces many ra symptoms like pain, morning stiffness and progression of joint damage. it's helped new ra patients and those not helped enough by other treatments. do not take orencia with another biologic medicine for ra due to an increased risk of serious infection. serious side effects can occur including fatal infections.
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cases of lymphoma and lung cancer have been reported. tell your doctor if you are prone to or have any infection like an open sore or the flu or a history of copd, a chronic lung disease. orencia may worsen your copd. here's information you need to know. orencia is available in two forms, infusion and also self-injection. talk to your doctor to see if orencia is right for you. and see if you can change "i want" to "oh, yes i can!" that your mouth is under attack, from food particles and bacteria. try fixodent. it helps create a food seal defense for a clean mouth and kills bacteria for fresh breath. ♪ fixodent, and forget it. ♪ hey america, even though slisa rinna is wearing the depend silhouette briefs for charity to prove how great the fit is even under a fantastic dress. the best protection now looks, fits and feels just like underwear. we invite you to get a free sample and try one on too. but with advair, i'm breathing better.
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so now i can be in the scene. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator working together to help improve your lung function all day. advair won't replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms and should not be used more than twice a day. people with copd taking advair may have a higher chance of pneumonia. advair may increase your risk of osteoporosis and some eye problems. tell your doctor if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure before taking advair. if you're still having difficulty breathing, ask your doctor if including advair could help improve your lung function. get your first full prescription free and save on refills at
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and finally tonight, the stars and finally tonight, the stars have aligned, the super fans have arrived and the players are getting ready to march onto the field, as two of the most storied teams in college sports finally collide. and at the center of it all, abc's josh elliott right there. josh? >> reporter: oh, diane, the atmosphere in sunlife stadium in miami is electric, and rightfully so. alabama and notre dame bring their shared legacies of historical scope and singular excellence to the field. one of those legacies will be burnished tonight with another national title. and if you're not one of the 75,000 people lucky enough to pack this stadium, you might be one of the 30 million plus watching at home. an audience that figures to make this the most watched cable event in television history.
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two football powerhouses, with legacies on the line. the blue and gold fighting irish of notre dame and the crimson tide of alabama. this is the game. the one everyone wants to see. and the rush for tickets almost as intense as the fight on the field. notre dame fighting irish, the alabama crimson tide. they are ready to see their two teams play for a national title. and take a look. ill mean, look at how far this stretches. the average ticket is going for almost $2,000. but if you want the best, a box suite, that's going for a remarkable $200,000. even the nosebleeds, nearly a grand a piece. hall of famer joe namath on hand to support his former team. >> roll tide! you betcha, buddy. >> reporter: these two teams last played in 1987, and for notre dame, it's been almost that long since their last national title.
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but a lucky charm for one group of fighting irish players. growing their beards since the season began. waiting to shave for a loss that never came. the beard gang has a social media following and several fans have now grown beards in solidarity. >> going against alabama, you know, to be the best, you have to beat the best. >> reporter: tonight, it's legacy versus die ndi dynasty. alabama is defending a national title. if they win, a third title in four years. unmatched feat in the current bcs era. >> to win another one, oh, man, it speaks highly of our program and what we do around here. >> reporter: for a sense of the magnitude, diane, know this. my colleagues, former colleagues at espn have told me all week long, this will be the biggest event in the company's history. >> ah, there for the wild ride, our own josh elliott. thank you so much. want everybody to know, the big game is on espn, coverage begins
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at 8:00 p.m. eastern time. and we thank you for watching and beginning the week with us. we'll see you right back here again tomorrow night. good night. an oil tanker side swipes the bay bridge but this time there is no spill. the i team reveals who is at the helm. >> close call in an air strip who. is on board this aircraft and how it wound up stuck in the mud. >> a demand for answers in a deadly police shooting in walnut creek taking this long just to reveal what they're up
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against. >> and in a corporation can be considered a person, does it qualify for the carpool lane? one man's unique defense to a traffic citation. >> here, you can see what an oil tanker did when it smashed into the bay bridge in the fog near treasure island thchl time no, spill no, injuries no damage to the bridge. good evening, everybody. i'm larry beil. >> and i'm carolyn johnson. tonight the investigation is underway to determine what went wrong, and why. if you look closely at the highlighted area of the screen you can make out a tiny red dot as this collide was the bridge. captured here on a web site that monitors shipping activity in the bay swre. team coverage, including abc 7 news i team reporter dan noyes. let's begin with lyanne melendez on what happened out there.
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>> right now, no one on board that tanker you can see behind me will be allowed to leave this evening. tonight, while this investigation is going on. they're looking into a few things, one, weather. it was foggy. and, whether or not there was proper communications between the pilot, crew, and the coast guard. part of the outer hull of the tanker overseas raymar was crashed. -- crushed. sky 7 show that's outer layer may have v.protected the inner hull. >> it's a double hulled ship there. is no penetration of the hull we've foundiqíe tork date. soundings led to us believe there is no product leaking into the water. >> still, 4,000 foot of boom will be put in while the coast guard investigates how this accident happened. the call came in at
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